A Squared: The Tastemaker Top 10 with Maris of In Good Taste Magazine

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Tastemaker Top 10 with Maris of In Good Taste Magazine

The Tastemaker Top 10 is a collection of 10 questions asked by me and answered by some of my favorite bloggers. Here they will tell you a little bit about themselves, their blogs, and of course, their favorite foods and restaurants. I am excited to introduce you to Maris Callahan today. Maris is the brains behind In Good Taste Magazine, a great online magazine focused on making food and entertaining simple and beautiful. Meet Maris!

c/o Leigh Loftus

Name: Maris Callahan

Blog: In Good Taste Magazine

Location: Chicago

In a few sentences, tell us a little bit about your blog: In Good Taste is an online magazine that aims to simplify every day occasions, from date night and girls' night dinner to a quick work night meal, for busy young professionals and anyone on the go. Food and drink are such social experiences and we want to make it easy and fun for people to cook more and be more knowledgeable about the food they eat when dining out.

I love to cook, but I know firsthand that when life gets busy, it's so easy just to grab takeout. I think that's because there are so many resources for busy families and parents, but not enough out there for people who are working long hours, balancing busy social lives and simply don't have the time to be Martha Stewart, too! We also find that people love great food, wine and cocktails and can travel the world enjoying new and exotic cuisine...but in their own kitchens, don't know how to prepare something as simple as a chicken breast or a steak! 

Now, tell us about your...

1. Favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
The answer that immediately comes to mind is "all of them" but really, I'd have to say Italian. I love just about any carb -- pasta, pizza, freshly baked bread and the fact that cheese is often present in many types of Italian cooking, is also a plus. I also really like Southern-style cuisine. A lot of people think of Southern food as fried chicken, biscuits and other rich indulgences -- which are all delicious, don't get me wrong. There's just so much other good stuff too. I visit close family friends in Kiawah Island outside of Charleston during the summers and that's where I've had some of the best fresh seafood and produce. I'm also from New York and there's nothing like a warm bagel with lox and cream cheese.

2. Least favorite meal, food, or cuisine:
I'm probably one of the few people on Earth who would say this but I despise the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. Separately, sure. Together? Can't do it.

3. Favorite restaurant in your city:
 This is like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. Right now, I'm totally obsessed with Nellcote. I moved to the West Loop in March and have already been back a few times for pizza, fresh pasta and beautiful ambiance. I work from home and love to sneak out of the office to have lunch and work from Beatrix, especially during the summer when the windows are open. I love their fresh juice bar and big, green salads. I also love everything that Paul Kahan does, Publican, Nico and Avec all top my list.

4. Favorite restaurant outside of your city:
My uncle is a partner in a restaurant group in New York and I love going to any of his restaurants. Republic is an amazing space for Thai and noodles -- I've had many a birthday party there. Indochine is another one and it's chic, elegant and the food is incredible, all very classic New York.  

5. Favorite guilty pleasure food: Boxed macaroni and cheese. Every once in awhile, it just seems to fall into my cart at the grocery store and I just don't have the heart to stop it.

6. Favorite ingredient (something you love to cook with, or something you see on a menu and know you have to order): There are a few things that are always in my kitchen: lemon zest, olive oil and really good sea salt.

7. Favorite kitchen tool, utensil, product, etc.: My KitchenAid Stand Mixer is basically a part of the family.

8. Favorite recipe: When I'm cooking for myself, I love making Baked Salmon with Dijon Glaze or Baked Chicken with Spinach and Mozzarella. Both are just so simple really tasty. I love making Creamy Avocado Pasta for friends -- I've never met anyone who didn't like this (just don't try to save the leftovers!).

c/o Leigh Loftus

9. Favorite thing about blogging: I love that blogging lets you take control of your own destiny. I started a blog six years ago when I was working full time in New York at a huge PR firm and was feeling constantly overwhelmed. Through my blog I met so many professional contacts and friends that led to my moving to Chicago, starting my own public relations business and now, launching In Good Taste as an online magazine, which I hope will help take some of the mystery and intimidation out of cooking for others who are also "figuring it all out."  

10. Five favorite blogs/blogs that A Squared readers should know about: 
Sarah's Cucina Bella - great recipes and travel tips for both families and singles.
A Girl and Her Food - has never led me wrong with a restaurant recommendation.
Quarter Life Crisis Cuisine- a really fun food blog that most 20somethings can relate!
Kitchen Belleicious - just simple, good food and stunning photography.
Chez Us - one of the first blogs I ever read and keeps getting better and better over time!

Thanks so much for your thoughts, Maris!

Do you have a blogger that you'd recommend to be featured on the Tastemaker Top 10? Or are you a blogger that would like to participate? Email me at aasquaredblog@gmail.com and let me know!

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